Fruit NOT Fruits

We all love fruits, right? Some of us make sure we get our daily servings however we can. I know some of you would say you like some fruits but not all, and that is okay. While some of you are allergic to certain types of fruits. Can we all agree the vegetables’ crew can just have tomatoes? I love tomatoes by the way.

Are you familiar with THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT found in Galatians 5:22-23? I can safely say many of us are.

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

While I was doing some thinking my mind somehow ended up on fruits and the Fruit of the Spirit. This happens enough for me to know it’s God trying to teach me something. One thing I quickly realized was how often Galatians 5:22-23 is misquoted. Unlike the natural fruits that we love, like, or hate the Fruit of the Spirit is ONE WHOLE FRUIT. We cannot pick and choose which part of it we need the most. While a fruit is growing you need all parts of it. I noticed that a lot of times the 9 distinct parts listed by Paul are often treated or mentioned as 9 different fruits. Verse 22 says “FRUIT” which is singular and implies it is one whole fruit with 9 various parts or layers. Paul was intentional in say fruit instead of fruits.

Fruit: “the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts”

This definition of a fruit suits Galatians 5:22-23. In verse 22 of chapter 5, Paul said “but the Fruit of The Spirit is…” so the Holy Spirit is that seed plant which develops the Fruit of the Spirit with its content and accessory parts. You can tell a tree by its fruit. Others should be able to tell who we are when we are filled with the Holy Ghost. Growth should be happening in our lives in 9 areas of the Fruit of the Spirit SIMULTANEOUSLY. As they are parts that make up the one fruit. Our fruit can either stem from the Holy Spirit or from the flesh. Anything that is stemmed from the flesh produces sin and death. “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death”, James 1:14-15.

The Fruit of the Spirit deals with our moral character. Only the Spirit of God can develop our moral character to be Christlike. Christlike moral character results from the qualities that the Fruit of the Spirit produces. We must be led by the Spirit and not by our flesh. The Fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist to see which one we have, like, or prefer more than the others. It’s certainly not something we can produce on our own. I am still learning and growing in ALL parts of the Fruit of the Spirit. I don’t believe it’s something we master then pat ourselves in the back for it. I think if we are living they will continue to grow and mature in us. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit! You must first and foremost be filled with the Holy Ghost to produce his fruit.

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Fruit takes time to grow. The Fruit of the Spirit takes time to grow. Not all parts of a fruit are noticeable at a glance. Sometimes we need to cut and peel parts to see what’s underneath and at the core of a fruit. While not all parts of a fruit are edible, all parts serve an important purpose. The Fruit of the Spirit will be evident in how we live and conduct ourselves throughout our day. Paul was purposeful in his usage of a fruit to describe the unity of moral character produced by the Spirit. The different layers are connected to make up the Fruit. It’s also not a coincidence the 9 different layers can be categorized into 3 major categories as they deal with 3 different aspects of moral character.

Love, Joy, Peace

These three are a direct result of a relationship with God. It’s not possible to have them apart from God. Everything follows love. I imagine love to be the layer that covers and protect all the others. It is the foundation for all the others. Joy builds up on love and peace follows.

Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness

These three are the manifestation of the first three layers. When we are filled with the love, joy, and peace of God we can demonstrate patient endurance, kindness, and being good to others. They are strengthened through tests and trials. It’s not possible to consistently manifest these things in our flesh. A sincere relationship with God will teach us these things. We will be able to express the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 and Jesus talked about in Matthew 22: 34-40 concerning the first and great commandment.

Faith, Meekness, Temperance

These three layers are seen when we face oppositions, challenges, and must make difficult choices. What we believe to be true determines the course of our actions. Learning to exercise self-control doesn’t happen overnight. We grow in faith and learn to be humble.

All these nine layers are the product of one fruit produced in us by the Holy Spirit. the fruit of the spirit cannot come from anything or anyone else other than the Holy Ghost. Love is the foundation of that fruit. We learn to love God through a relationship with him and through his love we learn to love others. This fulfills the law. Paul explained the fruit of the Spirit as a direct result of a Spirit-led life which fulfills the law and not work against it. the Fruit of the Spirit is made up of qualities that fulfill the law. Paul made it clear that with this Fruit we are not under the law (verse 23). There is no law against the Fruit of the Spirit! The Holy Spirit needs to be the primary influence of our minds and moral conduct.

We need all parts of the fruit of the Spirit. unlike the natural fruits, we eat it is all important and beneficial. We need them all equally not one part more than the other. My most favorite natural fruits are MANGOES! I love LOVE, Luuuuuuvvvvve mangoes. You can take a girl off the Island, but you can’t take the island out of her. I also love avocados, strawberries, green apples, and a few other island fruits. The Lord created bananas for his monkeys, let us let them have bananas. You will not convince me otherwise. While I can pick and choose which fruits I enjoy eating I can’t live without the FRUIT of the Spirit.

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RESPOND IN WORSHIP

When tragedy first strikes Job, he responded in worship…

“Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.” Job 1:20

 Job did reach a point where he cursed the day he was born in his moment of agony. Eliphaz told him…

“In the past, you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees. But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope? “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have, the upright been destroyed?” Job 4:3-7

 Job was a man of complete integrity and considered blameless by God. Yet God allowed him to suffer. His character was put to the test. 

 Ask yourself, how do I respond when I’m going through? When everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong? When I feel like someone is being rude or unkind towards me? etc… I had to ask myself these questions and many other questions. My initial response is not always faith or trust in God or worship. Sometimes God allows us to experience pain through certain situations that will make us extremely uncomfortable. He will test our character to purify us. I am learning true humility. I have learned to continually pray Psalms 139:23-24. I realized it’s more important to focus on how I’m responding, my attitude, and actions than to focus on my circumstances, what’s being done or said to me. I learned to hold my peace, knowing God sees all. He cares and he understands. He tests the heart of every person. I accepted where I am, learned why I’m in that season and decided to continue trusting God. I decided not to let anything happening outside of my control change my praise and worship.